Merriam-Webster defines the verb control as:
- · to direct the behavior of (a person or animal) : to cause (a person or animal) to do what you want
- · to have power over (something)
- · to direct the actions or function of (something) : to cause (something) to act or function in a certain way
In reality, control over other people or animals is a myth. We can encourage other people (or animals) to act in a way that we desire but there is no guarantee that they will do it.
In the workplace, a company can have an employee manual that covers every aspect of a job and what to do, not do, and how it should be done. In reality, once the worker is in their cube, they will do things their way if they think they can get away with it.
Parents give everything they have in raising children to bring them up correctly and teach them right from wrong. In most cases, by the time the kids reach the mid teens, they have a mind of their own and there is little that parents can do other than pray.
Couples, in relationships, will do everything within their power trying to train, mold, and shape their mate into the person they want to be with. In most cases, you are stuck with the person you hooked up with.
Nothing is more frustrating for humans than to try to exert control or change other people. The only control that anyone actually has is over themselves and how they react to a situation or something someone else does.
One of the better tips in trying to stay calm and off the roller-coaster is to stop trying to control the actions of others and to focus on things within you.
The Serenity Prayer which is attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr in the 1930’s is the mantra of many who seek to rid themselves of issues related to control.
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.”
Memorize it, and try to heed its wisdom.